Daily News Digest Featured News

Monday March 26 2018, Daily News Digest

hashgraph
Source: The Hindu

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News Summary

United States

SEC is to Examine Up to 100 Hedge Funds Focused on Cryptocurrencies (CoinJournal), Rated: AAA

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly getting ready to examine up to 100 hedge funds that focus on cryptocurrencies, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

A source familiar with the matter said to the WSJ that while examiners will report any suspicious activity they discover during the course of their examinations, the main purpose is to determine how the SEC’s policies should address digital currencies.

Reddit Reportedly Removes Bitcoin As Payment, Cites ‘Coinbase Change’ (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Reddit has reportedly removed the option for users to pay for their premium membership program, Reddit Gold, in Bitcoin (BTC) citing an “upcoming Coinbase change”, according to a Reddit post in subreddit /r/btc published March 23.

Reddit user BitcoinXio posted a video of the steps to give another user Reddit Gold, showing that the only payment options are PayPal and credit card.

Reddit Bitcoin
Source: CoinTelegraph

If You Held Bitcoins In 2017 Put Your Tax Return On Extension (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Coinmarketcap.com tracks 1,582 different cryptocurrencies.  As of yesterday (3/24/18) evening, they range in market capitalization from Bitcoins which are  collectively worth over $151 billion to Dibcoins which are worth just over one thousand dollars (all five million of them).  Dibcoin is number 1271 on the list.

There are over one hundred currencies with market capitalization over $100 million. Bitcoin has a daily transaction volume over $6 billion.  There are nineteen currencies with daily transaction volume over $100 million.

Whoever owns wallet 13HazMQj3V3ew4BowCrVTp1yDvwAnyVYXL that transferred 10.5 bitcoins on March 24, 2018 probably thinks it is all private, but if any of the people on the other side of the transactions know that old 13HazMQ is actually my friend James and rat him out to the IRS, which is likely given some of the people James associates with, the IRS will be able to learn about all the 619 Bitcoins that came and went from that account.  At current values that is over $5 million.

If you fail to report a large amount of gross income, the statute of limitations on your tax return is extended from three years to six.  If you don’t file at all the statute is forever. All your transactions on the block chain are also easily accessible forever.It is just a matter of connecting them to you.

Problems Initial Coin Offerings Cause Startups and Companies In Taxes & Accounting (Forbes), Rated: A

It’s safe to assume that there is going to be rampant fraud involved in ICOs as 10% of all funds raised through ICOs were considered “phishing, Ponzi schemes and other scams” according to Cointelegraph.

If you’re offering an ICO in exchange for service, then it is income – unquestionably.

An ICO may not be income, if your ICO was advertised as a loan.

Taxwise, the IRS will tax your ICO if you’ve promised a service.

Bitcoin to See Significant Improvements in Privacy and Scaling, Impact on Price Trend (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

Most cryptocurrency users are still concerned about Bitcoin’s lack of scaling. This is only normal, as the world’s leading cryptocurrency doesn’t look that impressive.

Other than scaling, bitcoin will see a strong focus on privacy. Schnorr signatures are a very intriguing development in this regard.

On top of that, bitcoin will see the Bulletproofs implementation. It is another privacy-oriented feature which removes the need for trust between multiple parties. It is possible this will lead to lower transaction fees.

Sidechains for Everyone

Another strong point of focus comes in the form of sidechains. These “additional” blockchains let other projects connect to Bitcoin.

Big Banks Could Eventually Warm Up To Bitcoin And Ripple (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Big banks want to crush Ripple and Bitcoin. At least, that’s the impression one gets by listening to speeches of high profile bankers, attacking the very premise and the valuation of Bitcoin.

There’s a good reason for that. Each cryptocurrency is in competition with banks, especially Ripple. “If big banks were to succeed in crushing one of these two currencies, Ripple would be it,” says Shidan Gouran, President and COO of Global Blockchain.

In fact, there are signs that banks are warming up to the idea of accommodating Bitcoin transactions. “I would go as far as to say that banks are almost encouraging the use of Bitcoin, by offering futures on Bitcoin, and allowing transfers to and from exchanges (with bank accounts, not with credit cards). “

The same could turn out to be the case for Ripple, as it can be very valuable to banks. “I believe Ripple offers a viable blockchain solution and an enormous amount of utility to banks,” says Darren Marble, CEO of CrowdfundX.

Ripple co-founder: Cryptocurrency needs a decentralized network to be successful (CNBC), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency and the underlying blockchain technology need a decentralized network in order to be successful long term, said Rippleco-founder Jed McCaleb.

Use of a centralized financial payment network will result in “a system that is no better than SWIFT or PayPal,” McCaleb said.

Hackers seize Atlanta’s network system, demand $ 51,000 in Bitcoin as ransom (Digital Trends), Rated: A

Atlanta mayor Keisha Bottoms said on Thursday, March 22, that hackers attacked the city’s network system and encrypted data. The details are somewhat slim for now, but hackers reportedly used the SamSam ransomware and demand around $51,000 in Bitcoin to unlock the city’s seized computers.

College students use financial aid money to invest in bitcoin (CNBC), Rated: A

More than 20 percent of college students use their financial aid money to invest in cryptocurrencies, according to new findings by The Student Loan Report, a website for student loan information.

The site polled 1,000 current college students with loan debt this month.

These Cryptic Artworks Hide a Bitcoin Fortune – All You Have to Do Is Decode Them (Science Alert), Rated: A

Now, one LA-based artist is having his say on our obsession with cryptocurrencies, and he’s putting his money where his mouth is – embedding thousands of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin in his artworks, which are actually visual representations of his cryptocurrency wallet codes.

In other words, these colourful mosaics aren’t just something you can hang on your wall: they’re basically encrypted passwords hiding in plain sight, and if you can figure out how to crack the code, you could unlock an estimated US$10,000 worth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
In a nod to the rapidly shifting value of these cryptocurrencies, the title of each work is a reference to Bauch’s original sum invested: Bitcoin initially valued at $20, $50, $90, and so on.

bitcoin art

Your Crypto Hardware Wallet Might Not Be as Secure as You Think (Futurism), Rated: AAA

You could leave your new crypto on the exchange where you purchased it, but those are worthwhile targets for hackers. You could move it to a software wallet, or maybe a third-party website or an app on your phone. But, again, those are online, so they’re susceptible to hacking. A paper wallet — literally a QR code printed on a piece of paper — is also an option, but they’re such a pain to set up.

On March 20, Saleem Rashid, a 15-year-old self-taught programmer, published a blog post detailing multiple ways a hacker could crack the Ledger Nano S, a popular crypto hardware wallet. Apparently, the device isn’t as “tamper-proof” as its makers claimed. In his post, Rashid explained how a hacker could use a vulnerability in the Ledger Nano S to steal any private keys stored on the device. They could do this by tampering with the device either before you bought it (a “supply chain attack”) or after you’d already loaded it up with your private information (an “evil maid attack”).

The same day he released his post, Rashid noted on Twitter that he told Ledger about the vulnerability four months ago and the company had exhibited “pretty poor communication” in the interim.

How Coinbase Added Bitcoin Cash (It Wasn’t as Easy as You Think) (Bitsonline), Rated: A

The most time-consuming task was UTXO management (UTXOs, or unspent transaction outputs, is how the Bitcoin network keeps track of who has the right to spend what funds). Coinbase’s UTXO management code, nicknamed “Wallace” wasn’t built to handle forked coins, and now it needed to find a way to track unspent outputs on two coins with the same history.

Repopulating Wallace with UXTO data from the Bitcoin genesis block to the hard fork that created BCH would have taken over a month, so Coinbase created a two-pronged strategy that synced and rewound the blockchain data to double-check.

Coinbase uses the newer BCH “CashAddr” format addresses by default, but must also support legacy addresses to serve more users. Even adding CashAddr support required the engineers to write their own Ruby library from scratch, since none existed at the time.

Happy Tax launches special initiative for crypto investors impacted by Coinbase user information disclosure (PR Leap), Rated: B

CryptoTaxPrep.com, Happy Tax is offering a discount to everyone impacted by the recent litigation between the Internal Revenue Service and Coinbase, the largest US based cryptocurrency exchange. Anyone who has to file five tax returns for the years 2013 through 2017 to include their cryptocurrency trading and mining income as a result of the IRS enforcement action will receive one tax return free of charge.

The reasons U.S. blockchain adoption has stalled (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Enthusiasm for blockchain technology in the financial services industry seems to be ebbing.

JPMorgan Chase, which developed its own open-source distributed ledger, Quorum, was rumored on Thursday to be spinning off the Quorum unit into a separate company.

Unnamed sources told the Financial Times that “some rival banks may have been reluctant to use Quorum because it was so closely associated with JPMorgan, leading the U.S. bank to conclude that its chances of becoming the industry standard were greater as a standalone entity.”

blockchain returns
Source: American Banker

Northern Trust a year ago developed a distributed ledger based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric that handles private-equity deals in Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. So far, one Swiss client is using it. The bank says this is on purpose, as it is still building out additional features for the platform.

Todd McDonald, co-founder of R3, described the legal obligations around a securities lending transaction between ING and Credit Suisse that took place on the Corda distributed ledger.

The Hybrid Approach: How To Gain Wider Adoption Of Blockchain (Forbes), Rated: A

Blockchain decentralization holds the potential for a trustless economy, one in which monopolies are nonexistent and security is a given. In this world, blockchain has decentralized the use of power and the manipulation of sovereign money supplies will be a thing of the past. However, this idea is still a distant reality given the current state of the technology.

Here are just a few of the challenges that must be over before mainstream blockchain adoption becomes a reality, illustrating why a hybrid solution might be an important stepping stone in that process.

 

US Treasury Offers Advice to Government Agencies Interested in Blockchain (CCN), Rated: A

The post, which was drafted by the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS), includes several lessons that officials gleaned while experimenting with a proof of concept blockchain system.

As CCN reported, the Treasury’s blockchain pilot program began in October and sought to utilize DLT-based systems to track physical assets such as computers and smartphones, and agency officials praised the technology’s ability to reduce fraud and increase efficiency.

If Cryptocurrencies Are to Be Taken Seriously, This Is What Needs to Happen (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

After virtual currencies began the year with a combined market cap of less than $18 billion, their aggregate value soared almost $600 billion by year’s end to $613 billion. That’s a gain of more than 3,300%, and it’s probably the greatest single year for an asset class that we’ll ever see.

Regulation! Regulation! Regulation!

Though you might shudder at the thought of regulation in the crypto market, it’s perhaps the one factor in the near term that could restore faith in virtual currencies.

Real-world application

Next, the cryptocurrency market needs to move past the proof-of-concept conundrum.

Crypto-consolidation

Last, but not least, we’d need to see some serious consolidation in the cryptocurrency space, which, according to my Foolish colleague Matt Frankel, now tops 1,650 investable digital currencies.

How the influential and powerful are gaining control using cryptocurrencies (Hackernoon), Rated: A

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is somewhere around 321 billion dollars as of today, and the 24-hour trade estimated to be 14.7 billion dollars. So if an alliance of the riches thinks about manipulating trades, it ain’t going to be a big deal for them at all. The total amount to shake the roots of the crypto market is estimated to be barely 50 billion dollars, and much lesser when considering simpler manipulations every day.

 

New Filing Sheds Light on Kodak’s Lucrative ICO Licensing Agreement (CCN), Rated: A

According to public documents dated March 15 and filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), WENN Digital paid Eastman Kodak a non-refundable $750,000 licensing fee for the rights to use Kodak branding on its digital rights management (DRM) platform, which will be secured by a blockchain feature a native cryptocurrency.

Kodak also received 50,000 shares of WENN common stock, a package the company said was worth approximately $1.25 million.

Chainworks latest to join the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (Freight Waves), Rated: B

Chainworks announces its alliance with Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA).

Tennessee Enacts Law To Legalize Blockchain & Smart Contracts (Legal Gambling and the Law), Rated: B

The bill, signed by the governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee, also “protects the ownership rights of certain information secured by blockchain technology.” The law legalizes smart contracts in the entire state.

International

Telegram On Track to Push Its Cryptocurrency Sale to $ 1.7 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Messaging service Telegram Group Inc., which smashed the world record for selling a new cryptocurrency in February, is on track to raise another $850 million as its initial coin offering extends toward a third month, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Telegram raised $850 million from large investors last month, selling rights to virtual coins called Grams at $0.38 apiece, according to a filing. The second round is targeting another $850 million at $1.33 apiece this month, according to the company documents seen by Bloomberg News.

 

Bitcoin, Ethereum, And Litecoin Are The Most Popular Cryptocurrency Investments Among Millennials (Forbes), Rated: AAA

That’s why, among millennials, cryptocurrencies were a popular choice to invest $10,000 in, in a recent survey of 1000 Americans.

Specifically, the survey found that 9.19% of millennials (18-34) would invest the $10,000 in cryptocurrencies, compared to 4.04% of Generation Xers (35-54), and (3.08%) of Baby Boomers (55+).

Specifically, 76% of the millennials in the survey said that they would invest the $10,000 in Bitcoin, 12% in Ethereum, and 12% in Litecoin—see table 1.

millennials cryptocurrency
Source: Forbes

3 Best Bitcoin Hardware Wallets 2018 | Store BTC Securely (Good Time Nation), Rated: A

Ledger Nano S

Since it is a multicurrency wallet, you can store different crypto coins in it. It is very light weighted and is made on a smartcard device. In order to safeguard Bitcoins, manage account and make secure payments you need to connect it to a USB port.

Trezor

It is one of the best and first hardware bitcoin wallet launched in 2014 that can be used for storing and transacting Bitcoins. It has many advanced security options, and it uses a unique PIN code. So when a computer gets hacked, the hacker cannot get the unique PIN. After each incorrect input the wait time between guesses is raised by a power of two. Making 30 guesses would take around 17 years.

KeepKey

An essential characteristic of this wallet is that it can collaborate with any existing software wallets by managing and generating a private key. The KeepKey’s comes with a larger screen which gives it some extra security features that the Nano S and Trezor lack.

Ripple Backs Global Regulations for Cryptocurrency Exchange (Payments Compliance), Rated: AAA

Ripple
Source: PaymentsCompliance

Reasons Behind Litecoin Recent Bullish Run (Global Coin Report), Rated: A

Recent G20 Assurances: Litecoin’s value bounced up after a period of considerable lows, following the G20 announcements. As reported by Reuters, the fears regarding cryptocurrencies have started to disappear, after G20’s positive assurances. Crypto-analysts are of the opinion that Litecoin his indeed on the way up, with a projected value of $400 by the middle of the year.

The Introduction of LitePay

How Blockchain Can Revolutionize the News Industry (CryptoSlate), Rated: AAA

This week, Facebook endured another privacy-related scandal when The New York Times reported that app developers accessed troves of user information as well as information from their friends and family.

What’s worse, that information was used to build comprehensive profiles that companies exploited to create targeted advertisements that preyed on people’s biases and prejudices. This event is part of cascading news story involving Russia’s use of social media to sway peoples’ opinions through misinformation, false accounts, and doctored photos.

The World News is the first blockchain-based news service. It aggregates news from various news sources and allows them to be accepted, edited, or removed. Using a simple color stoplight color code, The World News designates articles as “trusted,” and it provides a clear timeline for updated information. Since news is always changing, The World News uses blockchain records to document those changes and to update sources accordingly.

The Decentralized News Network recently launched its ICO.

In a March 14th editorial for The Wall Street Journal, Mounir Ibrahim advocated for using the blockchain to transmit verified images or data points to document atrocities.

ICO Token Allocations Don’t Always Favor Investors (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: A

More and more ICO projects now only sell a small number of tokens through the crowdsale itself. That is not uncommon, yet these projects still aim to raise tens, if not hundreds of millions from the public. It is evident this business model simply will not work, yet these companies couldn’t care less about that. All they want is the easy money, by the look of things.

If the public owns 50% of the tokens or less, things are simply not working out.

Traxia ICO Becomes the First to Launch on ‘Japanese Ethereum’ Cardano (ICO Examiner), Rated: B

The Swiss non-profit, Traxia (TMT), has become the first official token sale to launch on the Cardano (ADA) blockchain platform.

Cryptocurrency Airdrops: The What, the Why, and the How (The Merkle), Rated: A

Airdrops can happen for a number of reasons, the most common being:

  • To reward loyalty
  • Marketing
  • Decentralization

One of two methods are generally used to conduct airdrops:

Planned: Planned airdrops are usually announced in advance, as part of a marketing strategy to promote a project and generate excitement in the crypto-community.

Surprise: Surprise can also generate excitement and a lot of free publicity when it is a well-established cryptocurrency that conducts the airdrop.

Screw borders, Bitnation lets you create blockchain-powered virtual nations (The Next Web), Rated: A

Bitnation, a proof-of-concept Decentralized Borderless Voluntary Nation (DBVN), is an open source movement that is providing a platform for people to become a citizen of any nation through a smartphone application. In the real world individuals are forced to compete with each other in order to achieve their desired governance outcomes. However, this can often lead to violence, coercion, and conflict. With Bitnation’s Pangea software, a Decentralized Opt-In Jurisdiction, citizens can create nations, join voluntary nations on the Ethereumblockchain, and conduct peer-to-peer negotiations. It is aiming to reduce competition between citizens and increase competition among nations for citizens to improve the quality of governance.

5 of the Most Promising DApps Running on the Ethereum Blockchain (The Merkle), Rated: A

5. AUGUR – THE PREDICTIVE MARKETS DAPP

Augur leverages the hive mind of crowds to make real-time predictions using actual money.

Project updates: The Augur beta is running on the testnet. Developers are checking for potential vulnerabilities and plan to launch Augur in the next few months.

4. BLOCKCAT – THE CODING SHORTCUT DAPP

BlockCAT is opening up smart contracts to everyone by creating a visual interface that helps with backend coding needs. That means even non-coders can set the terms of a smart contract and deploy it easily on Ethereum.

Project updates: BlockCAT just launched Tabby Pay on its mainnet this week. Tabby Pay is a smart contract that prevents user error by allowing you to cancel a transaction if you realize you’ve sent it to the wrong Ethereum address. For now, it’s free on tabby.io.

3. FUNFAIR – THE GAMING SMART CONTRACTS DAPP

FunFair combines Ethereum’s smart contract capabilities with “fun, fast, fair” gaming opportunities for casinos.

Project updates: FunFair is recruiting online casino and gaming companies.

2. ETHERDELTA – THE EXCHANGE DAPP

EtherDelta is a decentralized Ethereum and ERC-20 token exchange. New tokens are often listed here before Binance and Bittrex, giving an early advantage to buyers.

1. GOLEM – THE COMPUTING DAPP

The promise of Golem is a worldwide supercomputer source where anyone can be a processing power provider and receive tokens in return.

Project updates: Brass Golem is the first software launch available for download as a testnet.

Long Blockchain Corp. Announces Minority Investment in TSLC with a Strategic Ownership Position in CASHe (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Long Blockchain Corp. (Nasdaq: LBCC) (the “Company” or “Long Blockchain”) today announced that it has closed on a strategic investment in TSLC Pte Ltd. (“TSLC”). TSLC is the parent company of CASHe, a leading provider of digital money and short-term financial products to young millennials across India. Pursuant to the transaction, the Company will acquire 7.0% of TSLC in exchange for 17.0% of the Company’s currently outstanding shares of common stock.

Introduction to Loopring – Decentralized Automated Trading Execution System (CryptoSlate), Rated: A

Loopring, an open source decentralized exchange protocol, is aiming to accelerate the shift toward a widely-used decentralized exchange architecture and build the financial system of the future.

The Loopring project has captured a significant amount of attention since launch in August last year, trading up to an all-time high market cap of $1.2 billion at the beginning of 2018 and forging significant partnerships.

crypto exchanges
Source: CryptoSlate

It should be noted that Loopring is not a decentralized exchange itself.

Instead, Loopring is essentially a disassembled set of components that work in concert to perform all of the functions of an exchange in a decentralized environment. Loopring is primarily a back-end process that runs behind an exchange — the Loopring team state explicitly that the Loopring project is not intended to compete with other exchanges, but is instead designed to enhance them.

The Loopring project is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain,. The Loopring team, however, plans to develop support for other blockchains such as NEOQtum, and EOS, with the end goal of delivering functionality across all blockchains.

How Can Cryptocurrency Users Ward Off Cyberattacks? (The Merkle), Rated: A

According to SecurityScorecard, you should follow these basic steps to prevent becoming a victim:

  1. First of all, check the website’s source code. If it contains obfuscated code, it’s possible that you are infected and that you should not sign in.
  2. Check to see if the Enter key is disabled on the sign-in form keys. This is a quick way to check for hackers, since they often disable this key, forcing you to click the “sign-in” button, which then sets off the injected button callback.
  3. Check to see if the settings page is accessible, especially if you are using Coinbase. If you can’t access the settings page, there’s a possibility that you are infected.
  4. Always enable multi-factor authentication for every transaction. It might seem like an extra hassle, but it’s better than an empty wallet.
  5. If you’re using Blockchain and you get a “service unavailable” message as soon as you log in, you may have been compromised.

Verge cryptocurrency asks users for $ 3M to reveal a ‘potential partnership’ (The Next Web), Rated: A

Privacy-oriented digital currency Verge has taken to Twitter to ask its users to donate 75,000,000 XVG (approximately $3 million) so it can reveal a mysterious, “potential partnership” next week.

For the record, this is completely unheard of – and borderline risible. At the very least, it is a tremendously bold move to ask your users to pay you to reveal a partnership.

At the time of writing, users have chipped in over 16,500,000 XVG (over $650,000) to the designated donation wallet. For the record, anyone can look up the wallet from the Verge blockchain explorer here.

Social Media App to Reward Users For Their Time With Cryptocurrency (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

APPICS is going to be established as one of the first Smart Media Tokens (SMT) on the Steem Blockchain, where the concept of transforming likes into cryptocurrency has already been explored through the Steemit platform.

There will be 15 different categories of content within the app- ranging from lifestyle to tech, music, gaming, fashion and more.

The token sale will run for four weeks with discounts for early investors. The company claims a pre-sale of tokens worth $1.5 mln sold out in 26 minutes on Dec. 26. Its full initial coin offering takes place on March 28, when 120 mln tokens will be available for $0.15 apiece.

Misleading Cryptocurrency ”Partnership” Announcements Are Getting Ridiculous (Bitcoin.com), Rated: B

Partnership announcements have long been a tool for pumping altcoins and shilling ICOs. In fact, promoters are now interpreting the term so broadly that if they are using Word to write a whitepaper or Gmail to handle communications they might as well claim to be partners of Google and Microsoft. 

German car manufacturer BMW had to come out on Tuesday and explain that it had no cooperation with an ICO project called Carvertical.

Taking this practice to the next level, the recently hacked team behind “privacy coin” Verge (XVG) isn’t even claiming to partner with any specific company. Instead, they are now promising to reveal a “massive” collaboration that will be “the largest partnership in crypto to date!” All that needs for this to happen is that investors will donate 75 million XVG by Monday.

Hidden dangers in global virtual currency boom (The Japan News), Rated: AAA

At 300 billion barrels, Venezuela’s oil reserves are said to be the most plentiful in the world. It is thought that Venezuela’s aim is to use that backing to persuade investors that the petro also has value.

President Nicolas Maduro claims he has been able to gather about $5 billion in funds from 186,000 investors in 127 countries, including Japan and the United States.

According to a local university survey, 90 percent of the population has fallen into poverty, and 60 percent of them cannot buy sufficient food. As a result, the physical body weight of Venezuelans fell by an average of 11 kilograms in 2017.

The market capitalization of virtual currency inflated over 30 times in value the past year. However, this growth has been overshadowed by accompanying problems such as fraud, digital currency theft and issuance of incomprehensible currencies by nations.

The market capitalization of virtual currency inflated over 30 times in value the past year. However, this growth has been overshadowed by accompanying problems such as fraud, digital currency theft and issuance of incomprehensible currencies by nations.

IBM Blockchain Lead Predicts Central Bank Digital Currency On Stellar ‘Soon’ (ETH News), Rated: A

In an informal ask-me-anything session on reddit, which began on March 22 and appears to be ongoing, IBM’s head of blockchain solutions for financial services, Jesse Lund, said that the public should “definitely” expect to see a central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued on the Stellar network “soon.”

Here Are the Top 9 Cryptocurrencies Right Now, According to Experts (The Merkle), Rated: A

ETHEREUM (ETH)

The second-most valuable digital currency isn’t without its issues, but Chris Kline is still a firm believer.

RIPPLE (XRP)

LITECOIN (LTC)

Litecoin “takes 2.5 minutes as opposed to 10.” It can also handle a higher volume of transactions and has a higher maximum supply than Bitcoin, at 84 million.

MINTCOIN (MINT)

HCASH (HSR)

Promising hybrid PoS/PoW, quantum resistance, and zero-knowledge proofs (among other things), Koyen believes that Hcash could seriously take off.

CANNABIS COIN (CANN)

CASINOCOIN (CSC)

SHIPCHAIN (SHIP)

REFEREUM (RFR)

Top 30 crypto exchanges by volume of trading [23-03-18] (Steemit), Rated: B

Rank Exchange Trade volume Country
1 Binance $ 1,980,953,568 Hong Kong
2 Upbit $ 1,735,142,635 South Korea
3 OKEx $ 1,028,197,261 China
4 Huobi $ 926,255,430 China
5 Bithumb $ 781,301,413 South Korea
6 Bitfinex $ 742,052,265 Hong Kong
7 Kraken $ 285,362,250 USA
8 GDAX $ 253,242,796 USA
9 bitFlyer $ 213,241,896 Japan
10 Bit-Z $ 211,810,550 China
11 Bitstamp $ 184,854,700 Netherlands
12 Bittrex $ 161,266,993 USA
13 HitBTC $ 155,267,844 USA
14 Lbank $ 108,196,746 Hong Kong
15 BTCBOX $ 76,243,272 Japan
16 Gemini $ 73,960,000 USA
17 BTCC $ 71,857,454 Hong Kong
18 CoinBene $ 71,501,173 Singapore
19 Poloniex $ 65,422,626 USA
20 WEX $ 64,931,775 New Zealand
21 CoinEgg $ 63,466,585 UK
22 Coinone $ 54,426,677 South Korea
23 Bibox $ 53,977,294 USA
24 Bitbank $ 52,439,574 Japan
25 CoinsBank $ 48,307,539 UK
26 EXX $ 44,304,232 Hong Kong
27 Exmo $ 39,175,046 Spain
28 Liqui $ 37,960,868 Ukraine
29 Gate.io $ 35,637,976 USA
30 Kucoin $ 33,381,983 Hong Kong
European Union

Lendo Epitomises Emergence Of Gibraltar As A Blockchain Country (Forbes), Rated: AAA

However, one even smaller European territory is staking a claim and that is Gibraltar, a place that has proved contentious between the UK and Spain, perhaps making it the perfect place as a bridge between two worlds; in this case financial, not political.

The strategy for Gibraltar appears to be simple. Create an ecosystem where investor safety is of the utmost importance, regulation is key and led by the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), a subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange.

Bitcoin Donations Helped These Earthquake Survivors Recover (Bitcoin Magazine), Rated: A

The straight stone road from the partially crumbled city wall to the scaffolded church in the center of the central Italian town of Norcia is empty. It glimmers a bit from the rain; the weather is unusually wet for this region today. Tourists and day-trippers that would usually be strolling around the historic town center on Saturday afternoons like these are nowhere to be seen.

This financial help did not come in euros. Legambiente had no euros left, Ilaria and Lorenzo were told when they applied for a reimbursement about a year ago; only bitcoin. The two had heard of the digital currency a couple of years ago when they were researching local money systems. But they had never owned any themselves.

The reason Ilaria and Lorenzo received bitcoin is Guido Baroncini Turricchia. The 39-year old Italian environmental engineer is the founder of Helperbit, a Rome-based startup that leverages bitcoin for fundraising campaigns.

How Baltic States Came To Dominate ICO Market (Payment Week), Rated: A

According to Token Report, ICOs have raised nearly $5.95B in 2017. Despite possible new regulations and promised Google’s crypto advertisement ban, ICOs already raised nearly $3B in 2018, with no signs of this trend slowing down.

While the U.S. and China are responsible for the biggest share of ICO funds raised in total, there is an unlikely leader of funds raised per capita in the market: the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, with their combined population of $6M. This year already Lithuanian ICOs have raised over $250M, placing the country third in the world for funds raised, while Estonian capital Tallinn belongs to the top ten cities in the world that are closing the most ICOs.

How have these small Northern European nations managed such a feat?

  1. First successful Baltic ICOs launched before the ICO boom and set a great example for the entrepreneurs in the region. Lithuania’s Monetha, a decentralized trust and reputation system for global commerce on the Ethereum blockchain, raised 95000ETH (then equivalent to $37M) in 18 minutes.
  2. Startup innovation crossed over to blockchain industry. BitDegree raised $22.5M to establish world’s first blockchain-based free education platform with token scholarships and talent networking. CarVertical raised $20M as the first decentralized car history registry built on blockchain and just
  3. Blockchain industry received support from the Baltic states themselves. 
  4. Cooperative environment promises project longevity. Another example – Lympo incorporated in Estonia – raised $11.5M and allows users to track their fitness and mindfulness activities and goals through smartphones and wearables.

Central Europe seafreight platform now accepting cryptocurrency (Lloyds List), Rated: A

Blockchain advocates hail decision as breakthrough, as 45HC.com agrees to take CargoX’s CXO token in payment for logistics services

Malta’s Prime Minister Makes A Bold Prediction: ‘Cryptocurrency Is The Future Of Money’ (Lovin Malta), Rated: B

A few days after cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance confirmed it is moving to Malta, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stuck his neck out completely in favour of cryptocurrencies, predicting they are the inevitable future of money.

United Kingdom

UK data protection watchdog gets warrant to enter Cambridge Analytica and seize evidence (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Britain’s data protection and privacy watchdog was granted a warrant on Friday to enter the offices of Cambridge Analytica.

The Information Commissioner’s Office was given permission by the U.K. High Court to access the controversial political data analytics firm’s servers and seize evidence.

Crypto projects that raised hundreds of millions of dollars are being ‘intentionally non-transparent’ (Business Insider), Rated: A

Startups that raised hundreds of millions of dollars last year issuing their own digital coins are being “intentionally non-transparent” with their investors, according to a new report.

Analysis carried out by ICORating for Business Insider found that many projects are operating in an “opaque” manner, with investors left in the dark about how the project is progressing.

435 projects raised $5.6 billion last year, according to TokenData.

ICORating, which provides analysis of potential ICO investments for investors, looked at the progress of the top 50 ICOs from the first half of 2017 for BI. The projects examined raised a combined $887 million and the biggest project, Bancor, raised $153 million.

China

China leads blockchain patent applications (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China was the most active filer of blockchain patent applications last year as the country’s technology and financial services groups rushed to claim exclusivity on the “mutual distributed ledger” that could revolutionise finance and other supply chains.

Data collated by Thomson Reuters from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) database showed that in 2017, more than half of the 406 blockchain related patent applications were from China.

China filed 225 of the blockchain patents last year and 59 in 2016, followed by the US (91 in 2017 and 21 in 2016) and Australia (13 last year and 19 in 2016).

Ex-Googler Wants to Upend Pigs and Hotels With the Blockchain (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A Taiwanese startup led by a former Google employee intends to employ the same technology that underpins Bitcoin and Ethereum to shake up animal husbandry and travel.

Darren Wang’s OwlTing has rolled out a system to establish the provenance of stuff: hotel bookings, or pigs from birth to market. The seven-year-old startup says it’s amassed hundreds of clients across Taiwan and its model enhances not just food safety but also verifies commercial transactions.

OwlTing, which has raised $6 million from Kyber Capital and Midana Capital among others, has built a blockchain-based system for 400 clients that eliminates double-booking of hotel rooms, by recording real-time inventory as customers book through online services such as Expedia. And its OwlChain tracks animal births, vaccinations, feeding routines: employees at fisheries or pig farms input that data into an app, which the company then converts into QR codes and adds to the blockchain once verified, for all to see.

Given it’s on track to turn profitable this year on a mere $15 million in annual revenue, Wang says he’s aiming to raise as much as $500 million via a Nasdaq listing by the second quarter of next year.

Blockchain Standardization Tops Chinese IT Ministry’s 2018 Agenda (CoinDesk), Rated: A

According to an official announcement on Friday, the ministry’s Information and Software bureau has outlined seven major areas of focus in its 2018 agenda, four of which will cover standardization initiatives that relate to the blockchain space.

Top of list, based on the announcement, is the formation of a dedicated committee that will seek to develop and roll out a standardized framework for blockchain use in the country.

 

Australia

Who Is Buying Bitcoin And Cryptocurrencies? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Finder.com surveyed 2,001 American adults to help determine who had been buying cryptocurrencies, and found that just under 8% own them.

Bitcoin was the runaway “winner” with 5.15% of people owning it followed by Ethereum at 1.8% and then Bitcoin Cash at 0.9%.

Finder.com found that Millennial’s (about ages between 22 and 37) had a 17% ownership rate, Gen X (about 37 to 55) were at a bit less than 9% and Baby boomer’s were just over 2%.

cryptocurrencies
Source: Forbes

Two Australian State Politicians Reveal Bitcoin Holdings (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

Nick Dametto, a recently elected MP for Katter’s Australian Party – a right-leaning minority party that seeks to serve Queensland’s vast rural population – has discussed his bitcoin holdings with Fairfax Media.

Mr. Dametto first purchased bitcoin in October 2017, which quickly grew in value. “I then used my bitcoin to buy a couple of different other coins that are worth a lot less, and then they went up a little bit, and at one point my $5,000 investment went up to $60,000, then it crashed after Christmas,” Mr. Dametto said.

Since losing his seat in November 2017, former independent MP, Rob Pyne, has sought to cash in on the rise of cryptocurrency – including changing the name of his Facebook page to “Roby Pyne: Cryptocurrency Guru.”

Perth Angels offering bitcoin masterclass for aspiring cryptocurrency investors (The West Australian), Rated: B

Early-stage private investment network the Perth Angels, in partnership with digital currency firm Digital Capital Management, is hosting a cryptocurrency and blockchain masterclass. Nine speakers, such as innovation and corporate venturing adviser Greg Riebe, ASX-listed Digital X chief executive Leigh Travers and a number of Digital Capita Management executives will join a range of experienced panellists to discuss all things blockchain and crypto.

ICOs are generating $US1 billion a month worldwide. In Australia, blockchain start-up Havven finalised a $39 million initial coin offering last month and last week loyalty-app start-up Liven announced plans to raise $65 million through an ICO.

Wednesday, March 28, 12:30pm-5pm, Moore Stephens WA. Level 15, Exchange Tower, 2 The Esplanade, Perth

Asia

Binance is moving to Europe after crackdowns in Japan, Hong Kong, and China (The Next Web), Rated: AAA

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by traded value, is planning to open an office in Malta soon — the company’s founder Zhao Changpeng told Bloomberg.

“We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon. Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech”, Zhao said. “Binance will soon start a “fiat-to-crypto exchange” on the European island nation, and is close to securing a deal with local banks that can provide access to deposits and withdrawals.”

Zhao, however, did not provide a timeline for when the launch in Malta is exactly planned.

Japan suspends Binance, one of world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges (RT.com), Rated: A

Japan’s top financial regulator has ordered one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges to suspend its operations. The watchdog said Binance was breaking Japanese rules and isn’t properly registered.

According to Alexa 9 percent of the website’s traffic comes from Japan.

Can hashgraph succeed blockchain as the technology of choice for cryptocurrencies? (The Hindu), Rated: AAA

This new consensus algorithm also has a peer-to-peer architecture, but it rectifies the genetic flaws of its older sibling blockchain, such as latency, energy wastage, expense, and proof-of-work.

hashgraph
Source: The Hindu

Unlike blockchain, which is a data structure organised into a series of interconnected blocks, hashgraph comprises of a chain of events. A block consists of a timestamp, the transactions pertaining to it, the hash of the block, and its predecessor.

sequencing
Source: The Hindu

One commonality between both blockchain and hashgraph in how they propagate information in a network is that they rely on the gossip protocol. This implies that a node in the network conveys information regarding transactions to its neighbours, sending the hash codes associated with transactions to all nodes in the network. Thereafter it becomes a race between the nodes to solve the complex mathematical problem, with the victorious node pocketing a share of the currency.

Consensus does not require polling since each member node has a copy of the hashgraph. The order of the messages can be determined from the timestamp, enabling consensus. According to the protocol, if there are n members (n > 1), any event can repudiate its truthfulness if it can bee seen by 2n/3 events of other members. In the figure, there are n = 5 members, so the least integer greater than 2n/3 is 4.
consensus
Source: The Hindu

AICoin announces open call for artificial intelligence start-ups seeking capital investment (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

AICoin, a proprietary investment group, has the potential to entirely disrupt the conventional venture capital model using the unique properties of blockchain smart contract technology. The investment group, made up of over 2,000 AICoin token holders vote on which start-up to invest in using the transparent voting capabilities embedded in AICoin’s smart contract. The goal – to use the collective knowledge of all token holders to build a portfolio of highly profitable investments in the most disruptive technologies in the world today, AI and blockchain.

AICoin will use a 2 stage strategy to generate profits for AICoin Collective token holders. Stage one uses the Collective’s capital to trade the most liquid cryptocurrencies using decisions made by proprietary AI models developed by AICoin’s founding team. These profits will be used to drive stage two of the strategy – ongoing investment in AI or blockchain start-up companies.  With 1.5M EUR of profits currently available in the ‘Stage two’ Investment Pool, the AICoin Investment Board is actively seeking the best projects from around the world for equity stake investment.

MENA

Bitcoin transaction fees plummet to lowest levels since May 2017 (Arabian Business), Rated: A

It what might be a good sign for beleaguered Bitcoin, which has suffered a series of jolts in 2018, the average price of transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain fell to just over a dollar – or 0.014 of a Bitcoin. The confirmations, moreover, are now taking less than 10 minutes.

Canada

From Energy to Crypto, Tech Company Links to Coinbase (Stockhouse), Rated: AAA

A Vancouver tech company isn’t wasting time evolving its business to focus on blockchain and cryptocurrency. Global Resource Technologies Ltd. announced at its AGM March 21, 2018 that it has acquired 1Linx Blockchain Technologies Corp., a company that provides blockchain security services to meet the regulatory requirements of blockchain money services businesses. Based out of New York, 1Linx works directly with one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase.
Africa

Africa’s young professionals embracing ‘gospel of bitcoin’ (ABC News), Rated: AAA

In a sleek new high-rise in Uganda’s capital, an enthusiastic lecturer described his financial success with the cryptocurrency bitcoin while his earnings were projected on a screen.

“What I have earned in one-and-a-half years from bitcoin is more than I earned in 10 years as a teacher,” Richard M. Bagorogo told his audience. “I am living on bitcoin because getting a job in this country is not easy.”

In Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and elsewhere a small community turns up at events where stars like Bagorogo preach what they call “the gospel of bitcoin.”

Kenya and Nigeria have issued similar concerns, and last year Namibia officially banned the use of cryptocurrencies for commercial purposes. But other countries in Africa appear open to the possibilities. Last year Tunisia announced it would launch a digital currency based on blockchain technology and South Africa, Africa’s most developed economy, is researching the technology’s feasibility.

Latin America

Venezuelans to Buy Homes and Property with State Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

Maduro announced that more than 200,000 orders from 133 countries have been placed during the 30 days of the petro pre-sale. He told local TV the total of the orders amounts to $5.25 billion USD. The president also said petros can now be purchased with fiat currencies like Russian rubles, Chinese yuan, Turkish lira and euro, as well as with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum and NEM.

Earlier this week Venezuela’s head of state said 82.5 million petros had been sold since the launch of the national cryptocurrency in February. The socialist government in Caracas intends to use some of the $735 million collected from the pre-sale to finance the construction of 236,000 new homes.

Authorities plan to build a total of 3 million housing units by 2019 under the Grand Housing Mission launched in 2011. Their construction will be financed with funds from the sale of the oil-backed currency. A presidential decree is expected to allocate 14,000 hectares of government-owned land to the project.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

About the author

Allen Taylor

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